Lucknow: In 6-yr-old grandson, Syed Modi family sees, nurture a future star
An illustrious career met a premature end when eight-time national badminton champion Syed Modi was shot dead outside KD Singh ‘Babu’ Stadium on July 28, 1988.
The brutal murder not only killed a star but forced his family to shed limelight and live in a cocoon for years.
With love for badminton running in their blood, youngsters in the family continued to play but refrained from taking part in competitive tournaments for different reasons.
Not anymore. With time healing the wounds, the Modi family seems to be gearing up to make a comeback on badminton turf.
And ready to carry forward the baton is Modi’s grandson Syed Taqi Haider alias Ayan — a six-year-old rising star trying his best to emulate his ‘Chotey Daddu’ in the field of badminton.
While his sports teachers insist Ayan’s game is natural as well as crafted, much credit goes to his father Syed Haider and mother Mehvish for introducing the kid to the game at an early age.
“He was just four when we handed him over badminton and enrolled him for practicing at the Chowk Stadium,” said his father.
“That’s because we wanted to give my uncle Syed Modi a tribute he deserves. We are committed to help him grow as a player,” said Syed Haider, who plans to send him to Hyderabad for training at P Gopichand’s academy after 2-3 years.
“My uncle had become junior national champion at the age of just 14 in 1976, and I wish Ayan to bag the same honour when he turns 14. I myself wanted to play badminton at the top but circumstances didn’t allow me to do so and that’s why I want my son to take up the challenge.”
Syed Modi who had won national title every year between 1980 and 1987 was honoured with the Arjuna Award.
He had won a bronze at first Asian Games in 1982. The same year he defeated England’s Nick Yates, 7-15, 15-5, 15-7 to take home the men’s singles gold at the 1982 Commonwealth Games.
“I too wish to play better than my Daddu in future and I would like to win Olympic medals,” said Ayan, a student of CMS, Chowk. He is the grandson of Modi’s elder brother Syed Hasnain Haider.
Modi was the youngest in the family of five brothers and two sisters. He was taught the finer points of the game initially by none other than his elder brother Syed Hussain Haider alias Pyaare. His other brother Syed Abid Haider himself was a national player.
Like any other young kid, Ayan too likes to watch ‘Shin Chen’ on TV but he never misses his training, which include 10 rounds of the stadium, 10 rounds of the badminton hall, and some exercises.
His coach and mentor for now, Agha Shaqir is full of praise for Ayan.
“His grip on the racquet is natural and I was surprised when I saw him hitting the shuttle for the first time almost two years back. I think he has all qualities to be a big player,” he added.